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“Give it to Siasia…”

Last week I came out with a view that bordered on caution in the handling of the appointment of the next Super Eagles coach. I said the solution to our football woes may not lie in a “good coach”. That no matter how good that coach may be, if the structures are not right, success will not be guaranteed.

Friday, I read Onochie and I could not agree less. Though the veteran writer was not at the House of Representatives Stakeholders Forum, his column on Friday could pass for a summary of the three day jaw jaw.

As usual, not many people understood me. Some were caustic, others civil, but the majority of the reactions I got said ‘Give it to Siasia’ without caring to state why.
Let me quickly publish some of those reactions:

Dear Bassey, I understand your argument about Siasia but the fact that majority want him means he will be having good will and support from the beginning which Amodu never had…Even if he fails we will know it is not because of lack of support. Even good coaches fail sometimes, but for once Nigerians will be behind him unlike when many were wishing they will fail, to prove Amodu was no good.Emma, Ikom, CRS-08095446894

Dear Paul, what exactly is the point you are trying to make about Siasia employment? That Super Eagles don’t need a coach or that Siasia is not the right coach? When you say he is not the solution to our football woes, we already know that, but we feel his employment will be part of the solution or don’t you agree? Meanwhile thanks for your efforts .Stan, Onitsha-08064928232

Not too long back it was of all people Ikeddy Isiguzo ponctificting (?) that we are beginning to see the end of the Siasia era. Now it is Paul Bassey dwelling on Siasia’s Egypt failures while pulling down even his Olympic silver triumph as junior level, age cheating.as Clemens Westerhoff once said ‘ In Nigeria if they know you going up, they come and cut you down”— 08038075590

The combination of Keshi, Siasia and Oliseh will give Nigeria the best results ever in football even if we have to draft strong soldiers to separate fights between them and NFA officials and sometimes among themselves. So it ought to be because effective people often have some elements of stubbornness in them — Godfrey , Warri —08035488031
It is true that our major problem is NFF and that Siasia failed in Egypt but coaches who have met him at world level tremble at the mentioning of his name — 07039503224

There are just too many unqualified self acclaimed experts meddling with the growth of soccer in Nigeria. We celebrated unknown people like Lagerback and paid him 50M naira, a failure and with no infrastructure. If our own Siasia is asking for 15million a month even with infrastructure, failure in Egypt and graduation to Super Eagles, I think its fair, We must learn to look inwards for our own solutions. No white man can do that for us whether at soccer or at any other national endeavour. Justin, 08033552187

Mr, Bassey I will not be surprised if by tomorrow your beautiful and constructive piece is mis understood. For me there should be no hurry to employ Siasia now until the new board comes in by the 21st which is just a week away. Le those who will work with him, employ him. And if I understand you well the employment of a super Eagles coach should not be sacrosanct. The super eagles coach should be able to lead a chain of coaches from the U-17 to Olympic Eagles cadre so that we can monitor and guarantee the graduation of players from one age group to another. If in the past we messed up, this is another opportunity of getting it right once and for all.— Israel, 08028981382

Then came this call from someone we refer to as Fireman in Nigeria’s sports circles. Alhaji Demola Ali was a national table tennis champion, PRO of the National Olympic Committee and presently the PRO, Publicity Secretary of the Association of Sports Veterans of Nigeria. Whenever Fireman calls me it is either because of an important national sports issue or he wants to confirm the time and channel of a Man U match. When his call came I was ready to exchange views on OUR 3-0 demolition of Newcastle only for him to shrug that aside and talk about Siasia. In an emotion laden voice, Fireman said he is pained that Amodu is still struggling to get the respect of Nigerians for what he has achieved in this country.

On Siasia he has nothing against the young coach but he is surprised that Nigerians can phone into a radio and TV programme and say 15 million naira is not a lot of money. ‘ Do they know what they are talking about? That we gave some foreigners some unaccounted funds in the past does not mean we should continue to waste funds in the name of paying football coaches’.

I had to remind him that Siasia needed this much to be able to pay his foreign assistants and Fireman got angry. “that is what I do not want to hear. If we as Nigerians have decided to go with indigenous coaches why is Siasia still tagging along with foreign coaches? Are we saying he cannot do without them? Are they the ones who do the jobs and he takes the credit? I am sorry to say this, but he should not be allowed to take us for a ride. If he is capable as a lot of his admirers want us to believe, let him hire fellow Nigerians to assist him, and a lot of them will take up his appointment for a million naira” Fireman argued, while wishing that he will use the Heartland job to beef up his credentials.

Different strokes from different folks.
•See you next week


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